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Building a better tomorrow through Girl Scouting

In preparation for an upcoming camping trip, Brownies Ashley Jordan, 7, (from left) Bailee Kramer, 8, and Brittany Johnson, 6, practice washing dishes in plastic tubs.  - Photo by Kassie Korich
In preparation for an upcoming camping trip, Brownies Ashley Jordan, 7, (from left) Bailee Kramer, 8, and Brittany Johnson, 6, practice washing dishes in plastic tubs.
— image credit: Photo by Kassie Korich

Whether it’s making place mats for nursing homes or creating disaster preparedness kits for schools, local Girl Scouts are out and about in the community.

About 1,800 girls in Kitsap and North Mason counties are members of Girl Scouts-Totem Council which serves 10 counties in Northwest Washington. With a total membership of more than 21,000 girls, the council provides more than just opportunities for community service but also instills leadership, values, teamwork and self-worth.

“They are learning all elements of group dynamics, teamwork and interpersonal skills,” said Susan Lundman, assistant executive director of membership for the peninsula region of Girl Scouts-Totem Council. “(Girl Scouting) gives them a real boost in self-esteem.”

To celebrate Girl Scouts in the community, the council is hosting a Peninsula Leadership luncheon from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 24, at the Kitsap Conference Center at Bremerton Harborside. The luncheon also serves as a fund-raiser for the nonprofit organization. A donation of $100 is suggested from each guest.

The money raised at the event will go toward maintaining the council’s camps (Camp Lyle McLeod near Belfair, Camp Robbinswold near Lilliwaup and Camp River Ranch near Carnation), provide financial assistance for those girls who are unable to afford uniforms or event costs and help subsidize some of the council’s programs.

“(The luncheon) is two-fold. It’s to raise money and celebrate what Girl Scouting can do for our community,” Lundman said.

Speaking at the event is Seattle attorney Jean Boler whose class-action suit against a Minnesota mine was made famous in the recent film “North Country.” The first sexual harassment case to become a class-action suit, Boler will discuss her experience in representing the women involved.

“She’s going to inspire the community to see what can happen when women work together to overcome the odds,” Lundman said.

Also scheduled to speak at the event is Kitsap County commissioner Chris Endresen and Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management Director Phyllis Mann.

Totem Council representatives also will share some of the enlightening success stories of local Girl Scouts. Recalling one of the more touching stories she has come across, Lundman described a Junior Girl Scout (Juniors are third- through sixth-graders) whose family is heavily involved with drugs and often takes on many responsibilities herself. Having joined the troop through a bring-a-friend troop event, the girl was walking with her troop leader when she began to explain how much Girl Scouts meant to her. As they were walking she stopped the leader and said, “I wanted to let you know that the problem with drugs in my family ends with me.”

Lundman has heard many stories of how girls have benefited from the organization and from the mentorship of their leaders.

“I love to hear their success stories,” Lundman said, referring to the leaders who have relayed the stories. “They inspire me because they are making a difference for girls.”

For Kelly Jordan of Silverdale who leads Brownie Troop 375 (first- through third-graders), she has seen first-hand the benefits of Girl Scouting.

“I watch them grow and get so much confidence,” she said. “I can’t believe how much they have grown since September. They’ve been keen on teamwork, learning how to work together. The benefits are so amazing. They’re becoming girls that are independent.”

At a recent meeting at the Jackson Park Community Center, Troop 375 prepared for an upcoming June camping trip to Camp McLeod. They practiced many of the skills they will need including how to roll up a sleeping bag, how to wash dishes without an actual sink and how to build a fire.

“None of them except one has camped before,” she said of her troop. “They are really excited and very vocal about what their fears are.”

To RSVP for the Peninsula Leadership Luncheon call Annette Booth at 1-800-767-6845, ext. 603 or visit www.girlscoutstotem.org/peninsulaluncheon. The deadline to RSVP is Saturday, May 13.

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